Dec 17, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats forward Jermaine Lawrence (11) controls the ball against Pittsburgh Panthers forward Talib Zanna (42) during the second half of the first game of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh 44-43. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Father Battling Cancer Caused Jermaine Lawrence To Transfer From Cincinnati

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Passing quick judgement on groundbreaking news can be a dangerous undertaking. It’s especially precarious when those reactions are made without understanding all of the circumstances around a situation. Rumors get thrown around with little to no facts behind them. This is exactly what happened when Jermaine Lawrence announced he was transferring from Cincinnati.

When his intentions were made known to the world, some UC fans jumped all over it. They claimed Lawrence was leaving because he couldn’t “cut it” at Cincinnati, that he was quitting the program and was so focused on doing it all like in high school he resisted Mick Cronin’s system. Some even claimed he had broken team rules, like drug use. All of this was driven by a perceived notion that Lawrence severely underachieved during his freshman year after signing with the Bearcats as a high 4-star recruit. These fans completely overlooked the fact that he was playing in a new position and struggled with a foot injury for one-quarter of the season.

Jermaine Lawrence was a highly rated prospect coming out of high school so he was immune to health problems or the learning curve of playing collegiate basketball for the first time. Or something.

Then it was revealed by the New York Post that Lawrence was not only leaving Cincinnati to be close to his family but he was doing so because his father was battling cancer. While Bobby Lawrence had known about it for a year, the family kept it from Jermaine until only recently.

Lawrence, who received his release to transfer from Cincinnati on Monday, was stunned when his mother Marcia broke the tragic news that his father Bobby Lawrence has been battling cancer for the past year, the reason the family took so few trips to Ohio this past season.

I can empathize with Lawrence’s situation. My dad recently overcame his own battle with cancer and when the leukemia was first discovered last October, he and my mother kept it close to the chest. They didn’t even let me know about it until a few months in. And it was my mom who broke the news, my dad couldn’t even bare telling me about it for fear of breaking down in front of me. He’s a prideful man to say the least and its one of his best qualities.

Keep in mind, I live in Chicago while my folks still have their same house in Cincinnati’s northern suburbs. I felt helpless not being able to get in touch with him much less help him. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks into the chemotherapy when I was finally able talk to my dad over the phone because he was confident his situation was improving. I visited him the following weekend, have been doing so frequently ever since.

Now, I can proudly say that my dad is doing much, much better and is making a full recovery.

So I look at this situation surrounding Jermaine Lawrence is a lesson in restraint. Even if it were true, I don’t really care if he clashed with Cincinnati’s coaches or if his handlers were telling him he’s the next Kevin Durant and he can do better elsewhere. Lawrence’s father is dealing with cancer and I don’t need to explain to you how serious of a situation that is.

Just the fact that he is leaving UC to go to school closer to him is good enough for me and it should be good enough for Bearcats fans as well.

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